Minister comes under fire for delay to new building


Northern Ireland’s education minister is coming under fire for a lengthy delay in providing a new building for a Co Fermanagh secondary school.

Devenish College in Enniskillen has been waiting for new accommodation since it opened 10 years ago.

The non-grammar school was created following the amalgamation of the Duke of Westminster High School and Enniskillen High School.

Last year, it went through a further merger with Lisnaskea High School. At that time, education minister John O’Dowd gave approval to the Western Education and Library Board to advance planning.

The preferred option of an economic appraisal recommends a new build school for 800 pupils. It will provide modern facilities enabling the Northern Ireland curriculum to be delivered in an environment in which all pupils can develop and achieve their goals.

The Northern Ireland assembly has heard, however, that while it has been years in planning, “Devenish has not even had a sod cut”. 

Tom Elliott of the Ulster Unionist Party has a daughter who is a pupil at Devenish College.

“I recall that, in late 2004/05, many of us were lobbying for the retention of Devenish,” he said. “The old Kesh site, which was the former Duke of Westminster High School, was being closed.

“At that time, we heard promises of a new construction at Devenish on the Tempo Road in Enniskillen – in fact, the promise was that it would be built by 2008. Now, some six years later, it has not even commenced.”

Former assembly education committee chairman, Mervyn Storey, who was recently promoted to social development minister, is also critical of the delays.

“Why are we 10 years on and Devenish has not even had a sod cut? Why are we in a position where promise after promise has not been delivered to the children in Fermanagh?” he added.

Mr O’Dowd says he is committed to a new build at Devenish adding: “I stand by that commitment.”


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